The Family I Lost
1. Do you think Amy is a bad mother? Does she have any redeeming qualities? Why do you think she behaves the way she does towards Tilly?
2. Is it reckless of Lisa to take up the opportunity to get closer to Amy and Amy’s children? Why do you think she does it?
3. There are a lot of secrets in The Family I Lost. How do these affect Amy and Lisa and their relationships with other people?
4. What do you think Amy and Lisa are looking for, or missing? Is this the same as what they need? What are the biggest threats they face, and how do they overcome them?
5. Could The Family I Lost be described as a ghost story? How important are past events in Lisa and Amy’s present?
A Child’s Goodbye
2. Childhood. What are the things that make Billy’s childhood happy? What does he find hard?
3. Family. Which characters do you think have the strongest relationship? What are some of the factors that make different family relationships and friendships difficult in the novel?
4. Accidents. Reuben says to Janice, ‘Accidents aren’t always disasters.’ Is Callie’s accident at the beginning a blessing in disguise?
5. Characters. Do you feel sympathy for any of the characters? If so, why?
6. Recovery. ‘The body doesn’t forget, even if sometimes the mind wills it to.’ (Reuben thinks this.) How do the characters deal with trauma? Does keeping secrets help or hinder them?
7. Love. What do the characters learn about love? Are you left with hope for them?